Online Program

Innovative development and usability of GRAAHI's Health Equity Index to reduce health disparities

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Andrae Ivy, MPH, Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, Grand Rapids, MI
Shannon Wilson, MPH, Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, Grand Rapids, MI

Information barriers exist in the United States (US) health care system.  These barriers occur more frequently for Blacks, Hispanics and low-income groups.  Reasons for these challenges include—lower rates of health insurance, mistrust of the health care system, and culture differences.  To combat this problem, the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute (GRAAHI) created an informational resource tool with tailored functions and features.


To develop and disseminate GRAAHI’s Health Equity Index (GRAAHI’s Index or Index) to empower community members with simple health information and resources.


First, GRAAHI conducted literature reviews for existing health equity indexes.  Second, GRAAHI collected data and recommendations from reliable sources.  Third, GRAAHI used existing and innovative concepts to develop its Index.  Fourth, GRAAHI facilitated webinars and conference calls with public health experts.  Fifth, GRAAHI hosted two focus groups using an outside facilitator.  Sixth, GRAAHI consulted with a Public Health professor.  Seventh, GRAAHI presented its Index to grantees and partners.  Eighth, GRAAHI hired an evaluator to assess the Index’susability.  Lastly, more focus groups will be conducted to gather additional insight.


GRAAHI’s final Index contained the following features—county, state and national data of 40 indicators, data by race of 21 indicators, innovative design and formatting, user toolkits, talking avatars (or human characters), an artificially intelligent assistant, a discussion forum, logic models, a video on health equity from the Health Equity Institute, nearly 300 health recommendations, and over 300 online resources.  The usability analysis of GRAAHI's Indexis still being performed.


GRAAHI successfully created its Index to improve the utilization of health information.  GRAAHI’s final Index is simple, user-friendly and interactive with a variety of features.  These unique features attract users of many different backgrounds.  By utilizing GRAAHI’s Index, community members and/or policy makers can promote healthy behaviors to reduce health disparities in West Michigan and the US.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify innovative features of GRAAHI’s Health Equity Index. Explain the significance of empowering community members with a simple, interactive database. Discuss how non-traditional features may improve the usability of GRAAHI’s Index. Formulate the usefulness of GRAAHI’s Index for policy makers, practitioners and community members. Demonstrate the importance of using different technologies to improve healthy behaviors and outcomes, especially for groups with significant health disparities. Discuss the current status of health indicators and disparities in Kent County, Michigan and potential policies to reduce health disparities in the region.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Information Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I successfully led the development and completion of this project. As an Epidemiologist, I performed many research efforts to capture local, state and national data to develop this resource tool. I created the content, framework and design of the resource tool/web site. As project lead, I partnered with other health professionals in our state and around the country to assist this process. I've also completed projects at the CDC in health equity.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.